Image Credit: Nicholas Green
The Grant Will Give Independent Venues A Fighting Chance And Provide Relief To Workers Affected By The Pandemic.
It’s been a long and hard fight for Americans affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, especially those on the music industry. However, the US Government has announced its planned $900 billion stimulus package that will give direct payments to unemployed workers and provide jobless aid to workers affected by the pandemic. Although, it does still need to be passed through the house. Incorporated into this package is the Save Our Stages Act which aims to establish $15 billion SPA grant programs for indie establishments.
The Save Our Stages bill was introduced in July to the senate by Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and to the House by Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Roger Williams (R-TX) to establish grants to help finance venue employees and the larger industry as a whole.
Speaking on the Congress floor Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said: “I’m especially pleased this this bill will provide money for bars and restaurants, and $15 billion in SPA grants for theater operators and small venue operators through the Save Our Stages Act”. He continues, “These venues are so important to my state and so many other states across the country. They are the lifeblood of our communities. They were the first to close and will be the last to open. This bill gives them a fighting chance.”
The National Independent Venue Association will likely be elated after hearing this news, an organisation that formed after the first shutdown. They now represent more than 3,000 independent venues and promoters across the whole of the United States. Their mission is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live venues, promoters and festivals throughout the country.
“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the COVID-19 Relief Bill,” said Dayna Frank, owner & CEO of First Avenue Productions and Board president of NIVA.
“We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”
NIVA has fought hard for the inclusion of this bill in future stimulus packages as countless independent venues are struggling or closing across the States. Which in turn is affecting countless workers within the industry. Thankfully the bill had support from Republican and Democrat representatives, forming a united front. Something that was desperately needed in such a divisive political time in America. NIVA has also undertaken numerous measures to connect employees of independent venues to lawmakers, creating a united voice. They also hosted the virtual #SOSFest which streamed via YouTube. The festival had performances from acts such as Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus, Dave Matthews, The Roots and The Lumineers. Across the three-day festival they raised more than $1.8 million.